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FAREWELL, 007

        

Sean Connery making his introduction to movie audiences in the first James Bond film, 'Dr. No' (1962)

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday,Nov. 6, 2020

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: In September I wrote about Sean Connery being voted the best of all the James Bonds by some entertainment poll … at a time when we thought the latest James Bond movie would be opening this year (‘No Time to Die’ has since been pushed back to April 2021). And I included excerpts from my 1989 interview story, remarks Connery made regarding his most iconic character. With Connery’s passing last weekend at age 90, here is that story in its entirety, published in the Deseret News on May 26, 1989.

 

Note that at the time of this interview he was still filming ‘The Hunt for Red October,’ which would prove to be one of his biggest hits. And his Oscar-winning role in ‘The Untouchables’ (1987) was a couple of years earlier.

 

There are plenty of obits online with tributes to his stature in the film industry. I especially liked this one, from John Cleese, who worked with Connery in ‘Time Bandits’ (1975), and whose tribute referenced both ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ (1989) and ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ (1975): ‘Such immense talent and a vibrant human. And the only one of us to find the Holy Grail.’

 

LOS ANGELES – Sean Connery makes his home in Spain, and rather than fly to Los Angeles for interviews to promote “Indianan Jones and the Last Crusade,” Connery’s image was beamed by satellite uplink from a Spanish TV studio to the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

 

Some 50 to 60 journalists were seated in a banquet room at the hotel and, via satellite, asked Connery questions ranging from the standard “how did you feel” about being asked to play Indiana Jones’ father to some truly off-the-wall posturings about his career and life — including one fellow who requested Connery’s private phone number.

 

Ah, the international press.

 

But Connery was jovial and good-natured about it all. And he joked about everything from his bookish Dr. Henry Jones character, to the character with which he is most readily identified, James Bond.

 

Technologically speaking, it was an interesting setup. Run-of-the-mill satellite interviews place TV monitors before the journalists with the interviewee being beamed blind — he can hear the reporters but he can’t see them.

 

        

 

In this case, however, it was a two-way system. There were two big-screen TV monitors on either side of the hotel banquet room and two video cameras between them aimed at the press. With a monitor in front of him. Connery could hear and see who was asking a question.

 

Connery said what appealed to him about doing an Indiana Jones film was the role he was asked to play – Indiana’s father. And, he said in answer to a question, there is no truth to the rumor that he wanted to play Indiana’s brother, not his father.

 

“I never had any problems playing the father of Harrison Ford. What I did want to play was his sister,” Connery joked. “I couldn’t get Steven to agree, but Paramount — they considered it. No, I never had any problem and I think that’s fantasy.

 

“I thought it was a marvelous idea to introduce the father of Indiana Jones and to show the boy Indiana Jones. I had known Steven Spielberg for a number of years and I’m a great admirer of his and enjoyed (working) for him enormously.

 

“I rather liked the idea of somebody (like) Sir Richard Burton, the explorer, with Victorian values, more European than American, to add to the conflict and the humor.”

 

A questioner asked about the stunts in “The Last Crusade” and if Connery sustained any long-lasting injuries from his earlier films. “Harrison did more stunts than I did in the film. Yes, he did many. But he’s three, eight months younger than me. I don’t have any injuries (that I) recall from any of the stunts I did. I only tried to ski once in my life and I’ve still got the bad shoulder from it. And the skiing was nothing to do with a movie. And I don’t think I have too many emotional scars from making movies either.”

 

Several times during the interview, Connery pointed out that he’s really much younger than his character in the film. He is in fact only 12 years older than Ford, and only seven years older than Dustin Hoffman, whose father he plays in the upcoming “Family Business.” But Connery says he is stirred, not shaken by his elder-statesman status and has no problem with his recent character roles on the screen.

 

       

 

Asked if he would consider playing the father of James Bond, Connery replied, “Would I play James Bond’s father. I haven’t thought about it. They haven’t asked me. Again, it would depend of on how well it was conceived and who was doing it. But, why not?” After a pause he added, “It would cost them.”

 

Comparing James Bond, whom Connery played in seven movies, to Indiana Jones, Connery said, “It’s quite difficult … because they are similar in their ways, in their extravagance. And (Jones or Bond is) invariably the hero in a situation that he has to unscramble and resolve himself, and it always looks as if it isn’t possible.

 

“The only difference is the sexual relationships with Indiana Jones and the women, (who) are invariably young pretty birds throwing themselves at him and (then) him rather shyly dealing with them, and Bond would probably have adored to have had them for breakfast.”

 

Connery added that he approves of Timothy Dalton as the current 007 and liked “The Living Daylights,” which he applauded for its attention to character over hardware.

 

As for possible future reteaming of Indiana Jones and father, Connery reiterated what Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford have said before, that “The Last Crusade” was planned as the last of the Indiana Jones films. “George Lucas owns the Indiana Jones series and I presume he knows better than anybody if there are going to be any more. If he says it’s the last one I presume it is. Nobody’s ever said anything to me about the possibility of doing another film.”

 

“The Family Business,” a comedy-caper film co-starring Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick is Connery’s next release, and he is now shooting “The Hunt for Red October,” based on the best-selling novel.